The 2013 network priorities for typical midsized organizations are an exercise in pragmatic intelligence, as CIOs and senior network managers wrestle to simplify, streamline and consolidate in order to embrace the next phase of network innovation, according to Exinda, a supplier of WAN Optimization and Network Control solutions.
The following are the five most common networking objectives within Exinda's customers' network plans:
1. Simplify the network toolset and spend by identifying waste
Simplifying the use of networking tools – and the tools themselves – is the most frequently cited objective for 2013. The companies surveyed need to remove wasted systems, and redundant monitoring and intelligence sources across the IT management estate.
2. Reduce integration overhead through network service consolidation
The burden of managing so many complex and isolated systems is becoming untenable, say CIOs and network managers. With IT budgets barely increasing this year, focus is shifting from bringing in new independent tools toward introducing converged or integrated solution suites.
3. Empower managers with greater intelligence through network dashboards
The CIO and network manager of the typical midmarket company is deeply concerned about how to create simple, business-centric network dashboards that help to resolve bottlenecks faster and monitor and diagnose user issues more easily. A recurring sentiment is the need for richer user-experience scoring, and a more direct connection among performance data, best-practice benchmarking and problem resolution.
4. Measure and control the growing "social enterprise" keeping the user as the focal point
Midsized organizations are focused on striking the right balance between unleashing the power of social media/collaboration, and assuring network SLAs and compliance. Their challenge is to maintain visibility of the user across all user devices and locations and to control the way in which network resources are used for social media and collaboration. This means tracking why the user is accessing applications and devices, prioritizing that activity from a business perspective, and then allocating resources intelligently to meet the need.
5. Set five-year strategy for network virtualization/SDN
Take the first steps toward adoption of software-defined networking (SDN). Exinda reports repeatedly hearing about the need to avoid repeating the mistakes made with server virtualization as companies embark on network virtualization over the next three to five years.
“The same objectives come up time and time again in discussions with our community; it's clear that few, if any, are intent upon a 'business as usual' approach to managing their networks,” said Brendan Reid, Vice President of Product Marketing at Exinda. “Rationalizing infrastructure, streamlining processes and consolidating spending are the target outcomes, and these are very much in-line with the expectations of analyst firms tracking this industry.”